Weather & Natural Disasters

Freezing winds spell nightmare commute in Northeast, Mid-Atlantic

Alexander Smith
A man rides a bicycle in Manhattan during a snowstorm that is moving through the Northeast on January 21, 2014 in New York City.
Getty Images

Millions of commuters in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic faced a nightmare commute Wednesday morning thanks to bitterly cold temperatures, high winds and the aftermath of heavy snowfall.

The snowfall ended south of Boston by 4 a.m. Wednesday, according to The Weather Channel. But in New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C, where the weather had caused havoc on the Tuesday evening commute, wind chills had plummeted well below zero.

The temperature in all three cities was between 9 and 12 degrees—with wind chills as low as minus 7 in Washington. Wind gusts across the region will get up to 33 mph, the National Weather Service reported.

Residents of the region faced the prospect of digging themselves out of some heavy snowfall, the heaviest fell in Manalapan, N.J., which got 15.5 inches. A foot fell in New York City and 13.5 inches in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

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"Considering these conditions, the commute is going to be very bad," said Guy Walton, a meteorologist at The Weather Channel. "Even though the snow has stopped everywhere south of Boston the wind is going to be quite strong across the Northeast.

"Children are going to have the day off and people getting to work are going to find it very tough going."

Winter storm warnings from the National Weather Service were still in effect on Long Island, N.Y., and Boston. Cape Cod was under a blizzard warning and it was expected to continue to snow there until 1 p.m.

It was not only people on the ground subjected to winter misery: Almost 1,400 flights coming into or out of the U.S. on Wednesday had been canceled by 4 a.m.

According to FlightAware, most of these came at New York's LaGuardia and John F Kennedy International airports, Newark Liberty International, Boston Logan, and Philadelphia International. There were some 240 delays nationwide.

(Read more: Washington grinds toa halt as winter storm rages on)

Just over 3,000 flights were canceled across the U.S. on Tuesday and there were almost as many delays, according to FlightAware.

In D.C., most offices of the government were shut down Tuesday — although the Supreme Court justices did show up for work—and officials were asking residents to stay off the roads.

"We've had about 80-plus calls for personal injury collisions today," said Scott Graham, assistant chief of nearby Montgomery County, Md., Fire and Rescue, told NBCWashington. "Some of which have been very minor ... turning out to be property damage; some more significant, with minor traumatic injuries, vehicles overturning."

Meanwhile, governors in Delaware, New Jersey and New York on Tuesday afternoon declared states of emergency as blizzard conditions hit along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor.

The freezing temperatures are set to continue until the weekend and eastern Maine will be done with the snow a few hours after nightfall on Wednesday.

—By NBC's Alexander Smith.

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